On Tuesday actor Salman Khan was given an exemption from an appearance by the court during the hearing of an appeal made by him against the five-year sentence on the October 1998 blackbuck poaching case. The actor was sentenced to five years imprisonment by the trial court on April 5, 2018, after being convicted of poaching a blackbuck, an endangered animal species. Mr Khan had then challenged the judgement in the District and Sessions Court and sought suspension of the sentence after which he was granted bail by the court.
Since the lockdown, Mr Khan has sought exemption from appearance citing the Covid-19 pandemic in response to the court’s order to appear for the hearing this year which was announced before the lockdown. Mr Khan’s counsel HM Saraswat who moved the application to the court on Tuesday said, “We prayed to the court that travelling to Jodhpur from Mumbai and appearing in the court where the cases of covid infection have been rising in both cities could be risky for him.” he also said, “Accepting our ground the court allowed our application for exemption from appearance and listed the matter for hearing on January 16th, 2021.”
Additional Sessions and District Judge, Brajesh Panwar granted the relief after Mr Khan’s counsel cited the “rising” number of Covid-19 cases in Mumbai and Jodhpur.